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The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life Hardcover – Large Print, January 26, 2009

294 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sherwood (The Man Who Ate the 747), a writer for the L.A. Times, travels worldwide to gain insight from people who have survived a slew of near fatal phenomena ranging from a mountain lion attack to a Holocaust concentration camp, and interviewing an array of experts to understand the psychology, genetics and jumble of other little things that determines whether we live or die. Readers curious about their own survivor profile can take an Internet test, which is explained in the books later pages. Sherwoods assertion that survival is a way of perceiving the world around you is enlightening, as are some of the facts he uncovers: you have 90 seconds to leave a plane crash before the cabin temperature becomes unbearable; luck has more to do with personal perspective than chance. But Sherwoods balance of self-help, scientific theories and first-rate reporting is diminished by occasionally overwrought prose as well as the countless survivors stories, which can run together in a touchy-feely stream of faith and optimism. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

According to Sherwood, two questions are central to this book. What does it really take to survive a catastrophic event and what kind of survivor are you? You might be surprised at the answers. While there are tactics and strategies to surviving life tragedies, unforeseen accidents, and other catastrophes, many of these are instinctive (some, like exhibiting transitory superhuman strength, are manifested physiologically, without conscious planning). Some of us, Sherwood explains, are better survivors than others—in prisoner-of-war camps, for example, the people most likely to collapse are the eternal optimists who believe rescue is imminent and fail to come to terms with the possibility of long-term imprisonment. The book is a useful, insightful exploration of the nature of survival, the resilience of the human mind and body, and the ways in which we can all use our natural gifts to maximize our chances of coming through catastrophic situations. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Lrg edition (January 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446541230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446541237
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,839,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

299 of 312 people found the following review helpful By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on January 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Here's a club everyone wants to be a member of. It's probably human nature to wonder if you have what it takes to survive in a crisis. This thought-provoking book not only profiles dozens and dozens of people who have done just that, it also gives you a way to grade yourself on your likely survivorship, and tips on how to raise your score. You even learn which seats on an airplane are the safest (be near an exit, and forget about that window seat).

The three rules of the Survivors Club, according to author Ben Sherwood, are that everyone is a survivor, one person's crisis can't be compared to another's, and people are stronger than they know. Attitude has a lot to do with it. If you see yourself as a survivor, you'll likely be one.

You learn many of the reasons why people do not survive. One is called the Incredulity Response -- people simply don't believe what they are seeing. Two gripping stories bring this idea to life. In the first, a car-ferry sinking in the Baltic Sea, many victims didn't move or try to get out of the sinking ship, but were rather "frozen to the spot" looking like "marble statues, pale and immoveable." 852 passengers died. In the second story, a fire in London's Underground train station killed 31 people, with many commuters marching "right into the disaster, almost oblivious to the crush of people -- some actually in flames -- who were trying to escape."

"Brainlock" is another reason some people in crisis die. They respond to the shock of the situation by forgetting to think. "Under stress... people often display memory problems. They seem to forget what they're supposed to do." This isn't good if you're skydiving. As Sherwood puts it, "panic is the archenemy of survival.
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121 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Sally on January 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In America, life expectancy is 78.14 years. If you would like to live longer, read this compelling self-help book. It's loaded with detailed research material and anecdotal tips on surviving--what to do when: being impaled with a foreign object, finding yourself lost in the woods, experiencing an airplane crash, having a heart attack, or making a trip to the ER.

Many topics are covered with proof that they help people live: the power of prayer, managing fear, the will to live, and having good genes. Adversity can work to make people appreciate life and have a better perspective. Daily joy can be experienced after a traumatic episode.

Offered are such informative chapters as: The Survivor Profile, Your Survivor IQ, and Your Survivor Tool Kit. I suggest using this volume as a resource tool. Though it is interesting enough to be read straight through, I want to keep it around to refer to often.
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117 of 134 people found the following review helpful By An Amazon Customer on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was alright. I finished it, from beginning to end, which is an accomplishment in and of itself proving that if anything, the book was an entertaining read. But after a while, Sherwood seemed to repeat the same points over and over: have faith in some form of divine authority, be positive, and be on the lookout for lucky opportunities. And that is what made the book lose points, in my opinion. Everybody knows that already!

I enjoyed reading the plentiful anecdotes, but I felt disappointed by the title of the book, for the book didn't really share very many tips or science about survival, other than the three points mentioned in the paragraph above. What also made the book lose credibility was the test offered online after completing the book. Though Sherwood raved that this test was the "real deal" and as accurate and scientific as psychometrics gets, to me it seemed no more relevant than an online personality quiz or a horoscope reading in a women's fashion magazine. The results bore little resemblance to me. Rather, it sounded like feel-good babble.

Maybe if I hadn't been egged on to take that test I would have respected the book a little more. That and the lack of MORE case studies and science rendered this book nothing more than another hyped up opinion piece.

Once again, I encourage all future readers of this book to get it from their libraries; or if you absolutely MUST own a copy, get it used and at a cheap price.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Nicki Carmello on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I heard the author being interviewed on a syndicated news talk show. After listening to the first few minutes of the interview, I was convinced I needed to purchase this book which I did, then I recommended the book to my book club. I have never felt compelled to contact an author but after reading this book I did. After locating Ben Sherwood's email address, I emailed asking if he would agree to a telephone interview/conference with our book club. Much to my surprise he graciously agreed!

After reading the book, each book club member had a list of comments and questions. Mr. Sherwood spent over an hour answering our questions and provided more details about some of the survivors featured in the book. It was a fascinating experience. Each of us was enriched by this experience and as far as reading retention is concerned...? We will not soon forget the valuable lessons gleaned from reading this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the skills required to survive some of life's most challenging events. This book isn't focused solely on how to survive a plane crash or other catastrophic events, rather, it teaches how to survive ALL life's challenges large and small. It provides an interesting quiz to discover your strong personality traits or attributes and the ones that could use a little help in improving. Who among us wouldn't find this information useful? Who knows, perhaps it could save your life! Definitely worth purchasing, but please don't let this book simply gather dust on the book shelf, read it, learn from it and then pass it on to those you love.
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